Faced with closing a heavily used bridge to Fort Worth’s city center for 12 months, officials at the Texas Department of Transportation came up with a better plan.
Rather than replace the 100-year-old structure with a conventional bridge, TxDOT engineers designed the world’s first precast network arch bridge. The innovative design cut seven months out of the construction time and will create an elegant series of arches leading into the city’s cultural district.
“The idea was to turn to our success in precast technology and mass production, only we knew we wanted something more attractive for the West 7th Street bridge,” says TxDOT structural engineer Dean Van Landuyt. “Aesthetics were paramount. We tried to do something worthy of the great buildings and great architects who have worked in the city.”
Fort Worth is home to buildings designed by such notable architects as Louis Kahn, Tado Ando and Renzo Piano.
TxDOT has a long history of building low-cost, precast concrete bridges. This first of a kind precast network arch bridge met the agency’s goals of reduced construction time, aesthetic beauty and improved mobility and safety. The design also offers more pedestrian access than conventional designs.
The first two of twelve arches were recently placed, and the bridge is expected to be finished and open to the public this fall. Check out the rest of these amazing photos, courtesy of TxDOT, below.